Gaming Mac

10 Great Strategy Games You Can Play On Your Mac

Matt Smith 30-03-2012

strategy games


Mac gaming can be frustrating at times. The problem is finding games that are available on the platform. Even today, after Steam’s adoption of the Mac, finding games to play can be difficult.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t some excellent games. You just have to do a little extra work to find them. Let’s have a look at ten strategy game titles that are sure to please any fan of the genre.


Mac games are relatively rare, and their scarcity increases as they age. The production runs are smaller, which results in fewer used copies, which results in higher prices.

I’m capping the price for games at $60. This leaves out games like Rise of Nations. It’s an excellent title, but the few new copies I could find are priced at over $100. All of the games found here are affordable, which means they are relatively recent releases and many of them are sold on Steam.

AI War: Fleet Command

strategy games


If you’re a fan of the space-strategy genre and you don’t mind a steep learning curve you’ll love AI War.

This massive game offers players the chance to conquer the stars with gigantic fleets. Building them requires the management of complex resource system, though with that said, this is far from the most hardcore title you can buy.

AI War is available on Steam for $9.99. There’s also a demo available.

Civilization IV and Civilization V

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The Civilization titles Play The Civilization Game For Free With FreeCiv Read More have supported Mac for some time. The newest version is Civilization V, but its focus on making the series more accessible has angered some gamers while pleasing others.

Fortunately, you have a choice. Civilization IV: The Complete Edition is also available for Mac and it still feels quite modern, so gamers who prefer more complex strategy can pick it up.

Civilization IV is about $40 on Amazon, while Civilization V sells for a tad over $20.


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This unique title is story-driven, making it different from most strategy games. It places you in charge of saving a virtual world called Darwinia. A virus has assaulted it and its virtual citizens – and only you can stop it.

Darwinia’s lo-fi graphics style is beautiful but also makes the game easy to run on almost any Mac made in the last five years. The game is relatively simple to understand, so it’s a good choice for those unfamiliar with the genre.

You can buy Darwinia for $9.99 on Steam. There is a demo available.

Frozen Synapse

free strategy games


One of the newest games here, Frozen Synapse is a turn-based title focusing on squad combat. It’s one of the few games of its kind to be released in the last decade and it’s probably the best of the bunch.

There are only a few units, so understanding the basics isn’t difficult. However, the complex interactions between units, terrain and fog-of-war result in a deceptively challenging game. Units die quickly to gunfire, so a single round rarely lasts more than thirty minutes.

Frozen Synapse is $24.99 on Steam. There is a demo available.

Gratuitous Space Battles

fun strategy games

As the name implies, this strategy game is all about space battles. Fleets of 2D vessels are pitted against each other and attempt to achieve victory with beam weapons, torpedoes, missiles and rail guns. If you’ve ever found yourself re-watching the space battles in Battlestar Galactica or Babylon 5 you’ll love what this game offers.

This game sets itself apart from others by taking away direct control of battles. Players are responsible for designing ships and determining deployment. This sounds unusual, but the design lets you focus on building ships and enjoying battles instead of worrying about split-second changes in starship tactics.

Gratuitous Space Battles is $19.99 on Steam. The Complete Pack, which includes a number of DLC expansions, is $39.99.

Hearts of Iron III

fun strategy games

Hearts of Iron has been considered the definitive World War II strategy game since the release of the original in 2002. The game has never been accessible to strategy newcomers, but that’s sort of the point.

The latest edition refines the interface and updates the graphics, but it remains a hardcore title targeted at history buffs and World War II fanatics. The huge number of possible strategies and large number of playable countries makes this a title that you can play for hundreds of hours without exploring every possibility.

Hearts of Iron III is just $9.99 on Steam.

Rome: Total War

fun strategy games

The Total War series is one of the best strategy franchises on the market, but the latest games have not come to the Mac. The most recent title you can purchase is Rome: Total War.

That’s not to imply the game is bad, however. Rome: Total War is about eight years old, which means the graphics aren’t the best, but the battles themselves are as enjoyable as any Total War title. Anyone who wants to enjoy real-time strategy with extreme tactical depth needs to pick this one up.

Rome: Total War is available through a number of major retailers for $29.99.

The Sims 3

10 Great Strategy Games You Can Play On Your Mac thesims3mac

Yes, the Sims is a strategy game.  It doesn’t involve killing or conquering – but it does require proper resource management if you want your Sims to be successful.

This is the most approachable game on our list. Strategy game fans shouldn’t write it off automatically as too simple, however.  The Sims 3 is the most engaging game in the franchise from a strategy perspective. Managing day-to-day life of an entire family can become a serious challenge.

The Sims 3 is available for $27.99 on Amazon.

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

strategy games

Blizzard’s long-awaited installment of the hugely popular Starcraft franchise was certain to make this list. It is the only strategy title on this list that was built for professional competitive play. This focus is evident in the game’s excellent balance and fast pace.

Gamers who are looking for an engaging single-player strategy game experience may need to look elsewhere. The multi-player, however, is enjoyable for both newbies and experienced gamers. Blizzard’s ladder does an excellent job of gauging skill levels and pitting players against others that are approximately as skilled.

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is available for $39.99 on Amazon.


All of the games listed here are enjoyable and affordable. Together, they represent hundreds of hours of gameplay. But if there a title that you enjoy which isn’t listed here let us know by leaving a comment.

Related topics: Mac Game, Steam, Strategy Games.

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  1. alex
    September 13, 2012 at 3:16 am

    i kinda disagree with starcraft being a strategy game. its more about tactics and simply overwhelming the enemy with sheer numbers more than any amount of real strategy. but that isn't to say it is a bad game by any means.

  2. Flo
    August 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Starfront is available on the App store and is quite good, especially in multiplayer.

  3. Vineet
    August 6, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Why is Warcraft not here....

  4. Total war
    July 12, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    empire total war is coming to mac in spring of 2013, and there is a rome total war expansion called barbarian invasion.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks for the heads up on Hearts of Iron 3. I like strategy games, but WOW is that complex! Thanks, also for researching Mac games. Their rarity calls for great lists like yours.

  6. Murats Boys
    April 16, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    I believe that is one of the so much important info for me. And i'm glad reading your article. However wanna commentary on some common issues, The website style is wonderful, the articles is in reality great : D. Excellent activity, cheers

  7. Nicky
    April 8, 2012 at 1:00 am

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  8. DeadlyDad
    March 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Let's not forget Warzone: 2100 ( ) which still has the most insane tech tree and innovative unit build system of any RTS out there.

  9. Collin
    March 30, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Civilization IV is also available on Steam for $20, $30 for the complete edition. Both are available for Mac and PC.